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The Almighty Monarch and the Majestic Honeybee Come Together During 10th Annual Festival
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The Almighty Monarch and the Majestic Honeybee Come Together During 10th Annual Festival

Marlene Boernsen pulls frames full of honey-laden honeycomb out of her honeybee hives and inserts them into an extractor, 20 frames at a time, to release the honey from its comb.

The Ocheyedan beekeeper will bring a small six-frame extractor to the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji for a demonstration to kick off the Bee & Butterfly Festival 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4.

All ages will enjoy the demonstration in the lower level of the nature center, seeing how to extract the delicious golden honey from its original home.

“We can pour it out, and bees bring it in one drop at a time,” Boernsen said.

The people can purchase honey straight from the extractor, in two options of sizes. Boernsen said the freshly extracted honey will have some wax pieces in it, which some people like, but she will also have additional honey there that will be free of extra pieces.

In addition to Boernsen’s presentation, environmental education coordinator Karess Knudtson will give a talk about the Milkweed & Monarch Connection 4:45 p.m. in the amphitheater, and local beekeeper Jim Kraninger will give a presentation on Honeybee Issues at 5:30 p.m. in the amphitheater.

From 4-6 p.m. take part in kids crafts like creating butterfly wings to wear, painting a stepping stone to go into the Pollinator Paradise garden, make a seed ball to take home, or participating in a community art project.  Head down to Pollinator Paradise in Kenue Park to explore the indoor exhibits and to play giant Jenga or bee and butterfly bean bag toss.  Make sure to check out the nature center teepee and attend one the story times that will be held inside at 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Inside the nature center, get up-close and personal with a monarch butterfly by tagging it and releasing it. You will even get to keep your butterfly’s tag number to keep track of it through Monarch Watch’s tagging program.

Grab a sweet treat and get your picture taken with Sweetie the bee, talk with local beekeepers, stop at the Nature Store and visit plenty of other vendors, including The Prairie Flower, inside the outdoor tent.

The South 71 Trio will culminate the event, performing 6:15-8 p.m. in the amphitheater.

Also during the event, see the nature center's new exhibit of the Iowa Junior Duck Stamp Contest winners, which will be on display through September. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade submitted extraordinary pieces of artwork to the Iowa competition, and the 36 students selected for first, second and third place in four age categories have works displayed in the traveling exhibit.

Rae Clinkenbeard, a 16-year-old from Denison, was awarded the 2015 Iowa Best of Show award in the Iowa Junior Duck Stamp Contest. Rae’s entry was a mallard pair done in pastels. Her original artwork was sent to Washington, D.C., to participate in the national contest and is now traveling the United States as part of the best of show winners from all fifty states.

The free 10th annual Bee & Butterfly Festival has something for everyone. For more information on the event, call the Dickinson County Nature Center at 712-336-6352 or visit our website.

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